Did you know that in 2008, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 32.4 million adults and 16.7 million children? (Statics borrowed from Feeding America)
Many people are of the mindset “If I don’t see it, then it doesn’t exist”, but the horrifying reality is the hungry are your neighbors. They’re real people with real stories of hardships and hard times. Impoverished children sit next to your child in school. Starving seniors live on your street.
From Feeding America:
In 2008, the prevalence of household food insecurity in suburban areas was 12.7 percent (6.1 million households), and the prevalence of very low food security was 5.1 percent (2.5 million households).
Among members of Feeding America, 74 percent of pantries, 65 percent of kitchens, and 54 percent of shelters reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites.
During the holidays, feeding the hungry is a constant reminder. Churches and schools host canned good drives. Supermarkets have collection bins at the front of the store. However, the hungry go hungry all year round and it’s even worse for children during the summer months. Low-income children are subsided meals through school provided breakfasts and lunches, but during the summer months, the meals stop due to lack of funding.
As stated on Feeding America:
In many ways, America is the land of plenty. But for 1 in 6 Americans, hunger is a reality. Many people believe that the problems associated with hunger are confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the country, or certain neighborhoods, but the reality is much different. Right now, millions of Americans are struggling with hunger. We all know and are in contact with people affected by hunger, even though we might not be aware of it. These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days. Most of us simply have no idea. It’s time to educate ourselves about the causes of hunger in America.
More staggering statics from Feeding America:
Feeding America is annually providing food to 37 million Americans, including 14 million children. This is an increase of 46 percent over 2006, when we were feeding 25 million Americans, including 9 million children, each year.
- That means one in eight Americans now rely on Feeding America for food and groceries.
- Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks is feeding 1 million more Americans each week than we did in 2006.
- Thirty-six percent of the households we serve have at least one person working.
- More than one-third of client households report having to choose between food and other basic necessities, such as rent, utilities and medical care.
- The number of children the Feeding America network serves has increased by 50 percent since 2006.
This week, I encourage you to sift through your pantry and donate items to your local food banks. Make a monetary donation to Feeding America. Host a canned good drive in your neighborhood. Drop at least one can in the collection bin at your supermarket to show you care.
One small act of generosity can make a huge difference this holiday season.